London Models and How to Become One

  • Esther O'Leary
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It’s no secret that many of the UK’s, and indeed the world’s leading model agencies are based in London. So, how do you stand out in a city that is brimming with model hopefuls and genetically gifted beauties? Well, it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. You just need to know where to look.

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What Is a London Model?

Your first thought might be Kate Moss. At the very least you might imagine that London models are very tall, super slim and strikingly attractive. Whilst those models might represent a significant number they are by no means the only successful models working out of the capital.

Really? Tell me more…

There are a whole host of opportunities to make it as a model in the city. Commercial, glamour, mature, petite and plus size modelling are all increasingly popular sections of the industry, and many more besides.

I would still need to be tall, skinny and gorgeous though surely?

Wrong.

High fashion modelling is the only section of the industry where minimum height and weight requirements must be met. There are very few criteria to meet in order to be considered for most other kinds of modelling, particularly for commercial work. Every job is different however and so, whilst you might fit the bill for one casting, you could be completely unsuitable for another. Most importantly, the sheer scale and diversity of London means that there are likely to be more opportunities available whatever kind of work you do.

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Sounds great! How do I become one?

Regardless of your look or the section of the industry you are hoping to find work in, you will need to be fit and healthy and your skin, hair and teeth should all be in good condition. You should also be well groomed and presentable.

A great attitude will also go a long way. Agencies and casting directors need to know that you are professional, reliable, easy going and able to take direction. You will meet all sorts of interesting people in this line of work and so it is important that you are confident and able to interact well with strangers.

What Else Will I Need?

If you want to work with an agency, research London agencies and see which ones represent models like you. Alternatively you can choose to go it alone and work freelance, marketing yourself and finding your own modelling assignments.

Whichever approach you take, your next step is likely to involve building your portfolio. Having to invest in a professional set of photographs is inevitable at some point when you are starting out. Some agencies may choose to pay for your portfolio upfront but they will deduct any cost they incur from your earnings. If you would prefer to have control over your photographer and how you look, industry experts UK Models can work with you to create a selection of flattering images and advise you approaching agencies or getting castings.

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Will I Have to Live in London?

If you are lucky enough to have grown up in London or the surrounding areas then you have the best of both worlds. The fashion industry right at your finger tips with the comfort of your friends and family. However, for those living in towns or cities further afield it is much more difficult. Although there are agencies popping up in the likes of Manchester and Birmingham it is not on the same level as London. To begin with the commute to the capital to get signed to agencies is fine but when the castings start rolling in it will become much more difficult and expensive. We all know that trains in the UK cost a fortune and are very unreliable also. Therefore, castings can slip you by very easily. The fashion world moves at an incredibly fast pace and if you are not there to join the ride it leave without you. It is a scary thought relocating to London especially if you have no friends or family there to support you.

Relocating to London

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Many simply move to the capital with big dreams and no plan in place. The idea of making it as a model is so exciting yet before you make that huge step it is important that you think of a plan. Here are the dos and don’ts of moving to London.

  • Visit London lots of times to get a feel for the city and where you would like to live. Explore everything the capital has to offer.
  • Investigate what you can actually afford before you move. Be realistic yet don’t settle for a rough area where you feel scared.
  • Make sure you have either been signed to an agency or have a job (even if it is not related to modelling for the time being). Remember you have to earn money to pay your bills and eat!
  • Save as much as you can before the relocation so that you have money to fall back on. London living is expensive.
  • Don’t trust everyone you meet. Keep your wits about you.
  • Call your friends who live in the big smoke or even if you have friends of friends get in touch to ensure that you don’t feel lonely.
  • Don’t move based on an offer on the Internet. Your safety is super important and you need to act with caution.
  • Plan in trips back to visit your family as often as possible. The first few weeks will feel scary and daunting but with a trip planned in the not so far away future you will have something to look forward to.
  • Don’t put unrealistic pressures on yourself. The fashion industry is a hard one to break into and it will take time. Therefore, don’t move with little money expecting your career to hit it off straight away.
  • Discuss with your parents so they can help you with the move. Only those who are 18 or over can move to London without their mum or dad.

Modelling can be a fun and rewarding career, and there’s probably no better city to give you a head start. What are you waiting for?

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